Karnataka: I-T raid unearths assets worth Rs 162 crore, minister cries 'political conspiracy'

Bengaluru: The Income Tax department has detected undisclosed assets worth over Rs 162 crore and seized Rs 41 lakh cash, besides over a dozen kg in gold and jewellery during searches on the premises of a Karnataka minister and state Mahila Congress chief. Meanwhile, the Karnataka BJP on Tuesday hit back at the Congress, daring it to drop the minister, Ramesh Jarkiholi, from the cabinet.

Officials said the department has also got inputs about a number of "benami" assets and "unexplained investments" during the searches at the premises of Small Scale Industries Minister Jarkiholi and Mahila Congress president Laxmi R Hebbalkar in Gokak, Belagavi and in Bengaluru last week. The searches followed allegations of tax evasion.

In his reaction, Jarkiholi asserted that he had not committed anything wrong and alleged that there was a "political conspiracy" behind the Income Tax raids on his premises.

"I have not committed any wrong and I believe there is political conspiracy behind the I-T raids.

 Karnataka: I-T raid unearths assets worth Rs 162 crore, minister cries political conspiracy

Representational photo. PTI

"The I-T officials had visited us in Belagavi and we have cooperated with them. Even in future, we would cooperate with IT officials," Jarkiholi told PTI.

Hebbalkar was not available for her comments.

"The searches led to the admission of undisclosed income of Rs 162.06 crore and unexplained cash amounting to Rs 41 lakh, besides 12.8 kg gold and jewellery. Many people who had large incomes and investments were found not to be filing I-T returns and the probe in the case is going on," they said.

The searches, they said, were launched on 19 January to probe allegations of tax evasion in the sugar business apparently run by groups associated with the duo.

The investigators, sources said, found "huge unexplained cash deposits" had been made in the bank accounts of their family members and associates, and in benami names in primary cooperative societies which were transferred to business entities engaged in sugar manufacturing.

"It was also detected that non-existent persons have been made share holders and investors in one of the sugar companies. Evidences of creation of bogus assets and syphoning off money from the company through various concerns engaged in turn-key projects for setting up sugar factories have also been gathered," they said.

The IT department sources said, entry operators, people who facilitate in hawala-like transactions, were involved in making huge deposits in banks which were routed through various intermediaries to escape the tax net.

The department has also issued summonses to a number of people allegedly involved in the case to take the probe forward, they said.

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Updated Date: Jan 24, 2017 17:30:50 IST